The number of Filipino workers relegated to insecure and low-paying jobs have grown under the Duterte administration, said research group IBON.
Latest official labor force data shows a higher number of employed under Pres. Duterte. The number of employed increased to 41.8 million in January 2018 from 39.3 million in the same period last year, with the employment rate at 94.7% and 93.4%, respectively. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate declined to 5.3% in January 2018 from 6.6% in January 2017.
IBON noted however that despite the upturn in employment and lower unemployment, there are now more Filipinos who are underemployed or seeking for more work. The number of part-time workers, or those working less than 40 hours per week, also grew.
The underemployment rate of 18% as of January 2018 saw a rise from the 16.3% underemployment rate the year before. This is the highest of all labor force survey rounds during Duterte’s term. The number of underemployed Filipinos grew by 1.1 million or from 6.4 million the year before to 7.5 million in January this year.
There was also an increase in the number of part-time workers, said the group. Part-time workers grew by 1.3 million (9.3%) to 14.7 million in January 2018 from 13.4 million the year before.
Another indication of the worsening jobs situation is that informal sector workers, or the number of own-account workers and unpaid family workers combined, rose by 1.4 million (9.2%) to 16 million in January 2018 from 14.6 million in January 2017.
IBON stated that the government should implement much-needed reforms that prioritize Filipino workers’ interests over big business profits. These include ending contractualization; mandating a Php750 across-the-board national minimum wage; and ensuring decent benefits and working conditions. Such reforms must go hand in hand with a strategic plan for national industrialization that is necessary in creating sustainable jobs for the Filipino people.